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  The Digital Collegian - Published independently by students at Penn State
[ Wednesday, Aug. 25, 1999 ]

Filling holes: Stickwomen replacing top-notch talent from last season

Collegian Staff Writer

After losing many key players to graduation from last season's Big Ten-champion squad, one might not expect the Penn State field hockey team to contend for a fifth straight conference title.

The Lady Lions lost six starters from last year's team to graduation, including Big Ten Player of the Year Heather Gorlaski, Penn State's all-time assists leader Dawn Lammey and goalkeeper Jamie Smith.

Things may look bleak, but Lions coach Char Morett once called the 1995 season a rebuilding year — and that team finished atop the Big Ten.

Stepping up to fill one of the holes made by those losses could be junior Maegan Galie. She finished last season second in the Big Ten with 41 points before suffering a broken collarbone in the conference semifinal against Iowa. After recovering from the injury, Galie played this summer for the U.S. Under-20 Team.

"Maegan Galie just has an array of shots that are incredible," Morett said. "It's surprised me that she's not called up to the U.S. Team."

Also expected to contribute as a leader, senior Tracey Larson's future with the Lions could be in doubt. She may join the U.S. squad at midseason.

"I just talked to Tracey a little while ago, to see if they need her as much as we need her," Morett said during Penn State Fall Sports Media Day. "But, she's got a shot to play in the Olympics, and I know that's always been a topic of controversy throughout the entire athletic department."

A big question for the team will be at goalkeeper as Smith's graduation leaves an empty hole there. Freshman Annie Zinkavich and redshirt freshman Heidi Leuchte will contend for the starting spot.

"My greatest amount of patience is going to show in the goalkeeping position," Morett said, "because we have total inexperience there."

The Lions will begin their 36th season when they host Ohio Sept. 3 and North Carolina Sept. 5. The Tar Heels have had Penn State's number since 1993, beating the Lions four times in the last five years. The two teams did not meet in 1994.

"It will be nice to open up with Ohio University at home," Morett said. "And it always seems at that point we do need to make a couple changes before we go into such a game as Carolina.

"It'll be nice to have Carolina play here. Last year we played them out at St. Louis, so we expect that to be a good competition."

The team will face a grueling September schedule. A week after North Carolina, the Lions will travel to Norfolk, Va., for games against defending NCAA Champion Old Dominion Sept. 11 and NCAA Tournament participant Northeastern Sept. 12. Two days after hosting West Chester on Sept. 15, the Lions will host NCAA Final Four-qualifier Connecticut on the Bigler Field's artificial turf.

Penn State will play a series of road games late in the month, visiting Temple on Sept. 21 before beginning conference play at Northwestern on the 24th and at Iowa on the 26th. Syracuse will visit on Sept. 29.

Other non-conference games for the Lions are at James Madison Oct. 8 and at home vs. Pennsylvania Oct. 27.

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Copyright © 2001 Collegian Inc.
Updated 1999-8-24  20:39:56   -5
Requested 2001-3-6  20:33:37   -5

URL: http://www.collegian.psu.edu/archive/1999/08/08-25-99tdc/08-25-99dsports-5.asp